Welcome to the official beginning of the Christmas season! Now that it’s socially acceptable to start playing Christmas music, you can be sure I'm playing Pentatonix’s latest Christmas album on repeat on every device I own, including the best song on the album, “That’s Christmas to Me” (which also happens to be the best Christmas song since, like, “The Christmas Song”).
So in the spirit of sharing what Christmas means to us, I thought I’d share what makes Christmas so special to me this year.
Yes, it is truly the most wonderful time of the year, complete with good food, music, warmth, and snow.
But that’s not all that Christmas is about.
Christmas is significant not because we celebrate with family and friends, nor because we get to give and receive presents (not that any of those things are bad).
Christmas is significant because it is a celebration of Jesus’ birth, of the day Jesus came down to Earth, fully God and fully man, to take our sins away. The prophet Isaiah puts it this way:
…he was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
And with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned—every one—to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:5-6, ESV)
We’ve all done wrong by our own standards as humans. How much more have we failed the standards of a perfect God? And yet, God, in his infinite mercy and love, sent his Son, blameless, and pure, to take on our wrongdoings and pay the price for our sins. Jesus didn’t have to come.
There’s no reason why we should receive the mercy of an all-just God, except for the unending love of a merciful Father.
That’s my reason why Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. We celebrate the day Jesus came down for us.
Which also happens to be the theme of our Christmas concert: Celebrate the Day.
We’re singing one song, in particular, that I’m especially psyched for, which is Relient K’s “I Celebrate the Day.” It’s been a Christmas favorite of mine basically since it was released in 2007, not only because Relient K is one of my favorite bands of all time, but also because of the lyrical content.
The song strips away much of the lights and bells around Christmas and paints a rather raw image of the singer speaking directly to the baby Jesus in the manger.
The chorus very simply asks,
The first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever?
This, to me, is what Christmas is all about. Yes, there is joy in Jesus' birth, but it's the joy of knowing that this baby is my savior, that the story doesn’t end with the birth of a King, but in the salvation of the world. That joy is something that far surpasses the momentary excitement of receiving the latest Apple device.
I celebrate the day that Jesus came to save us.
That’s Christmas to me.